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I call this photo "the non-conformist graduate"

Updated: May 7, 2022

May 21, 2010 at exactly 6:52 p.m., I was photographing T. K. Gorman High School's (Tyler, TX) graduate "cap-toss" at the end of graduation ceremonies. I had done this for many years, but this year was different.

When I got back to my studio and started editing my images, I noticed something quite different. One of the graduates was not tossing her cap. She was just standing there, smiling at the camera, as if to say, "Hey Mr. Photographer, catch as catch can, but you aren't catching me being a conformist."

Of course, I did a little Photoshop tweaking and made her stand out with color against a monochrome background. Even so, it is one of my favorite graduation photos.

As I look back on this photo, I have often wondered; who was she? Where is she now? Is she blazing her own trails as the picture would imply? This is what I love about photography. A picture stops time in its tracks! An instant kept in perpetuity, at least theoretically. This photo will wait for years, even generations, for someone to look at it and ask themselves, "Look at her." She made a bit of a statement about herself, wouldn't you say?

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